Order of CanadaThe Order of Canada is Canada's highest civilian award, awarded to those who adhere to the Order's motto Desiderantes meliorem patriam meaning "they desire a better country."
The Order was created on July 1, 1967, on the country's 100 anniversary, to recognize Canadians who have made a difference to Canada. It is Canada's highest honour for lifetime achievement. The Queen of Canada is Sovereign of the Order and the Governor-General is its Chancellor and Principal Companion.
There are three levels of the award:
- Companions of the Order of Canada have demonstrated the highest degree of merit to Canada and humanity, on the national or international scene. Up to 15 Companions are appointed each year, with a limit of 165 Companions at any given time.
- Officers of the Order of Canada have demonstrated an outstanding level of talent and service to Canadians. Up to 64 Officers are appointed each year.
- Members of the Order of Canada have made an exceptional contribution to Canada or Canadians at a local or regional level. 136 Members may be appointed annually.
Citizens of other countries are eligible for honorary appointments at all three levels. The maximum number of honorary appointments per year is five.
Past recipients include:
- David Ahenakew - First Nations leader
- Pitseolak Ashoona - Inuit artist
- Jean Beliveau, professional ice hockey player
- Pierre Berton - journalist, author, popularizer of Canadian history
- Leonard Cohen - writer, poet and musician
- Ernie Coombs, a.k.a. "Mr. Dressup" - Canadian Broadcasting Corporation TV personality
- Terry Fox - athlete and cancer fundraising activist
- Wayne Gretzky - professional ice hockey player
- Geddy Lee, musician
- Jan Narveson, educator
- Mordecai Richler, author
- Jeffrey Simpson, journalist